Local public health officials have confirmed a measles infection in a member of a large group of foreign minors visiting multiple states in the U.S. as a part of a summer program. The Snohomish Health District’s Communicable Disease and Surveillance team is also monitoring the health status of other individuals in the family who were exposed and are considered non-immune.
Confirmation came in late on July 6, and the Health District has been working with the host family to piece together the minor’s activities over the last few weeks. There are several places where the child could have been exposed, and are listed on the Public Health Insider website, including areas in King County.
Health officials at the Snohomish Health District, Public Health – Seattle & King County, and Washington State Department of Health have been contacting impacted businesses and providers in the community to alert them of the potential exposures.
Most people in our area have immunity to the measles through vaccination, so the risk to the general public is low. However, all persons who were in the following locations around the same time as the individuals with measles should:
- Find out if they have been vaccinated for measles or have had measles previously; and
- Call a health care provider promptly if they develop an illness with fever or illness with an unexplained rash between June 21 and July 12, 2018. To avoid possibly spreading measles to other patients, do not go to a clinic or hospital without calling first to tell them you want to be evaluated for measles.
Measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that causes fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes. It is mainly spread through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes.
Measles symptoms begin seven to 21 days after exposure. Measles is contagious from approximately four days before the rash appears through four days after the rash appears. People can spread measles before they have the characteristic measles rash.
People at highest risk from exposure to measles include those who are unvaccinated, pregnant women, infants under six months of age and those with weakened immune systems. A person is considered immune to measles if any of the following apply:
- You were born before 1957
- You are certain you have had the measles
- You are up-to-date on measles vaccines (one dose for children age 12 months through three years old, two doses in anyone four years and older).
For more information about measles and measles vaccination, please visit www.doh.wa.gov/measles.
The best protection against measles is the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, usually administered to children at 12-15 months old and at 4-6 years old. Parents and guardians can check their child’s immunization status or print their Certificate of Immunization Status at wa.MyIR.net.
Vaccines are provided at no cost to all kids through age 18. If a health care provider charges a fee to give the shot, parents or guardians may ask to have it waived if they cannot afford it. By law, no child can be turned away from getting a recommended vaccine from their regular health care provider because the family cannot pay.
Get help finding a health care provider by calling the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588 or visiting www.parenthelp123.org.